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March 27, 2014

Former Owner of T&T Realty Sentenced to 24 Months in Prison in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

OKLAHOMA CITY—Trina Tahir, 58, of Oklahoma City, has been sentenced to 24 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $382,290.82 in restitution for her role in obtaining mortgage loans fraudulently, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

A grand jury indicted Tahir, along with two co-defendants, Derrick Reuben Smith and Michael Gipson, in July 2010. According to the indictment, Smith recruited two individuals to buy two new homes in Edmond in mid-2006 and early 2007 for $425,000 and $435,000 respectively. The builder of both homes agreed that Tahir's real estate brokerage, T&T Realty, would receive large commissions and bonuses totaling $51,950 and $77,950, respectively. The indictment alleged that after the closings, Tahir caused T&T Realty to write checks to Gipson, an agent at T&T Realty, for $27,059.86 and $58,000, respectively. Gipson then bought cashier's checks in those same amounts payable to "MP Services," a business that Smith operated. Smith paid $20,000 to the person who served as the buyer of the first house and used the rest of the money for his own purposes. In short, the defendants were charged with inducing lenders to fund mortgages based on inflated real estate prices and misrepresenting the distribution of excessive loan proceeds to Smith as commissions and bonuses paid to Tahir.

The indictment also charged Gipson and Tahir with fraudulently misrepresenting the source of funds used as a down payment on a house that Gipson bought in Oklahoma City and charged Tahir with fraudulently disguising the payment of $9,295.52 to a buyer of a house in Midwest City as a real estate bonus.

In addition to a conspiracy count and four wire fraud counts, the indictment included nine counts of money laundering. In each of these, one of the defendants was charged with engaging in a financial transaction designed to conceal and disguise the nature, source, and ownership of the proceeds of the mortgages.

On April 6, 2011, Tahir pled guilty to laundering the proceeds of a fraudulent mortgage on the house purchased by Gipson. A jury convicted Smith of conspiracy on April 14, 2011; on August 30, 2011, he was sentenced to 40 months in prison and ordered to pay $369,355.54. Gipson pled guilty on March 30, 2011, to conspiracy and money laundering. He was sentenced to four months and ordered to pay $335,070.55 in restitution.

On March 26, 2014, U.S. District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti heard evidence concerning Tahir's fraudulent conduct and concluded that she was culpable in connection with six residential properties. He also found that she had obstructed justice by attempting to manipulate the judicial process through meritless motions in which she contended that she was incompetent and that she should be allowed to withdraw her guilty plea because of alleged coercion by her former counsel. Based in part on these findings, he ordered her to serve 24 months in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and to pay $382,290.82 in restitution to financial institutions. After her incarceration, she will be on supervised release for three years.

This sentence is the result of an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott E. Williams and Chris M. Stephens.

Reference is made to public filings for further information.

Source: United States Department of Justice for the Western District of Oklahoma

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